Jetstar flight with 134 people aborted after tail hits ground

The Jetstar Airbus A320
The report said the flight was there cadet pilot’s first take-off as a pilot. Photo credit: File

A Jetstar flight carrying 134 people was forced to turn back after the plane's tail hit the runway during the learner pilot's first take-off.

The plane, leaving Melbourne for Hobart last year, was forced to retreat after cabin crew heard strange noises during the plane's ascent, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) reported in a statement on Monday.

Investigations since the incident into what happened found the flight crew did not tell air traffic control about the tail strike as it should have.

The report said the flight was the cadet pilot's first take-off as a pilot.

Accompanying the cadet pilot was a training captain and a safety pilot with him in the cockpit.

While the plane was climbing, the cadet pilot and the captain discussed how the pitch rate was higher than normal, and this high pitch rate resulted in a high rotation rate during take-off, which caused the tail to hit the runway, the ATSB found.

"As a result, the captain elected to stop the climb and return to Melbourne. The first officer also swapped seats with the cadet pilot."

ATSB said while the plane's crew handled the situation well, "the potential tail strike was not adequately communicated to Melbourne air traffic control".

This meant checking the runway for aircraft debris was delayed.

In a statement to, a Jetstar spokesman said: "The experience captain and trainer pilot handled this extremely well and with the help of cabin crew ensured the aircraft returned to Melbourne Airport without further incident."

Jetstar confirmed the pilot - already the holder of a commercial licence - was undergoing training to become a first officer on Jetstar's A320 aircraft at the time.